It's been a quiet week here... partially, I suppose, the mild yet systemic case of poison ivy that has been popping up small but very itchy places here and there. There, where I sit down. I do not recommend it. The best thing I have found for it is the tea-tree flavored stuff from Aubrey, Everything Balm. But you get tired of itching. Not knowing when it will stop coming out (I think it has) and wondering if the blotches are going to turn out to be serious enough to go find a physician who'll give me prednisone makes it more fun.
(update Aug 24 -- nothing new, and my usage of E-balm has reduced from hourly to daily)
My old dear friend Lisa
blew through on her way from possibly Vermont to Framingham, detouring through Cambridge and giving me four beautiful wine glasses and some of the local knowledge she has picked up living in California. She has become a disciple of St. Pinot Noir.
The glasses are roughly twice the size I am used to, with predictable results. Hic.
She appeared late on Sunday. We had hoped she would be able to celebrate my birthday (it was the 12th, but I was trying to keep people out of the traffic) on Monday, when my parents came up for lunch, but she was zooming somewhere. My daughter made a very good edition of lentils and spinach (extra butter) and a spectacular gluten-free marmelade cake. This was even more remarkable because Ellie doesn't think people should eat marmelade; but by the time she was done with it, even she had a second piece. We felt sick. It was fine.
Lisa left the next day just before my son and his fabulous girlfriend arrived for (as far as I know) the final stage of my birthday. (8-24 --my very decent ex-husband drove them to Annapolis in my parents' van to their spandy-new apartment. This will be the first time they have lived alone with one another. One wishes them luck. One would have misgivingings, but one cannot blame one's son for not wanting to live in a dorm where he was often the only one not hammered out of his skull on weekends, and his girlfriends is really someone we all like. Might as well keep her.) They bore with them my birthday present, the latest Stephanie Plum, which I managed not to start until after they had left. It was not great literature, but it made me laugh more than once, which is about all I can ask.
The wonderful Julia played out the final hours of her internship with honor, learning enough Photoshop to be dangerous. I catalogued things. We looked at tiny pieces of pottery. I mourned the sudden death of U Vermont anthropology professor Jim Petersen, shot by coked-up robbers in a restaurant in Brazil. I did not know him, but I had hoped to; we leaned hard on his studies of New England Woodland pottery the last few weeks. It makes me nervous when archaeologists in their early 50's die, nothing to do with any NH state archaeologist passing out on his kitchen floor and needing his carotid artery reamed out last November, why do you ask?
Someone is writing a book about knitters who take up spinning, and she interviewed me and wanted to know if I had any designs for knitters who have just learned to spin, i.e. for varied, lumpy yarn. All I could offer her was the Woolly Mammoth Tea Cosy, which I made a couple years ago when I was a new spinner and not having enough fun making socks big enough for, well, at least a modern elephant (I felted them and sewed on suede soles). I have no idea if she will use the cosy in her book. But I have been working on producing a coherent pattern, since apparently what I thought was regular double-knitting was not the same as the nice book with the horsie [my WORD, how prices go up!]. This involved finishing the half-finished one from two years ago (and starting another copy) trying to pay attention as I worked. I had no idea how I was increasing. Unreliably. It was quite cheering to felt the thing and have it start looking better.
A bit porcine, but felting really disguises a number of faults. Though not a kind of Plimsoll line from changing roving in mid-copp.
The last few days the MahJong site I try not to overuse has failed to load. One of the alternate games at the same site is Collapse. I have been irritating the daylights out of my poor daughter playing it too much. You will notice the site is not highlighted, as I don't want anyone to fall into bad habits.
Today I bestirred myself to go to a plant sale at The Fells,
somewhat north and west of here. The weather was not terribly helpful, although I would rather have a nice cool shower than heat. They had some interesting plants. I was trying to behave myself, so I didn't get the hellebore or the chaemecyparis or ... . I bought a cranesbill, an asarum europaeum, a pitch pine (how often can you get a three-foot tree for $6?) and a smaller, very graceful rosemary-leaved willow to plant in the Swamp. One hopes the rain will hold off long enough to plant them tomorrow, along with doing the other useful things I hope to get done.